Cat Quest (Nintendo Switch) – Quick Interview + New Information!

At GameStart 2017 (Singapore), we managed to snag the developers for an insanely kawaii (cute) game Cat Quest. Of course, the presence of a Nintendo Switch on their booth table caught our eyes from a distance away too!


What is Cat Quest?

For those unfamiliar with Cat Quest, it is an adorable action-RPG released not too long ago for other platforms. You control a cat (of course) and you explore the open world map, fight enemies and finish up quests like a true hero! Battles happen on the map itself like a mix of Diablo and action MMORPGs.

A true hero can’t live without loot, right? In Cat Quest, you receive random loot drops ranging from weapons, armour, headgear and magic! All equipment show up on your hero cat too as you equip them!

Hands-on Impressions

I’m sold! Having only heard about the game here and there, I have never actually checked out the game in detail, but it has always been at the back of my head.

What I like about Cat Quest after trying it out:

  • Cats! (´・ω・`)
  • Cat puns! Lots of it! Your main homebase is named Catpital, for example.
  • Responsive controls and clear warning when an enemy attack is coming
  • Dressing up your cat hero with awesome loot
  • The graphics are bright, colourful and gorgeous on the Nintendo Switch screen
  • Gameplay is simple to learn but still fun and relaxing to play
  • Open world: you are pretty much able to go anywhere, but like MMORPGs, there are high level monsters that can obliterate you if you are not careful
Cat Quest booth at Game Start 2017!

TL;DR – Release Date, Pricing and technical details that some people (like us) care about

So I managed to grab the awesome team at The Gentlebros at the booth and bombarded some questions, and they were really happy to share some information regarding the release of Cat Quest on Nintendo Switch’s Eshop!

  • Release Date: November 2017 (Pending confirmation)
  • Pricing: US$12.99 and equivalent
  • Estimated 10-15 hours of gameplay, or even more if you are a completionist
  • HD Rumble might be coming in a later patch, but nothing confirmed yet
  • Game engine: Unity
  • Resolution/framerates: 1080p and 60fps docked; 720p and 60fps in handheld mode
  • The Japanese release is handled by Flyhigh Works (publisher of Deemo, Voez, Human Resource Machine and more)

Mew Game Mode is coming in a future update! (includes customisable difficulty as well as around 6 new awesome items – the more difficult the game, the better the rewards). Some of the customizable difficulty options include being unable to level up, permadeath and more!

Check out this adorable flyer!



Attack on Titan in Singlish!?

So a group of Singaporeans decided to add some Singaporean flavour by dubbing a famous scene in Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人) in Singlish. And the result is hilarious (and too real).

Here you go (turn on subtitles if you’re not familiar with Singlish):

Wah lao eh the things people do, but not bad ah like awesome only.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst Review – Do you like Rockman/Megaman?

Image result for mighty gunvolt burst

Game Summary

Mighty Gunvolt Burst is a retro art style platformer in the vein of Rockman/Megaman with a more modern twist, featuring a crossover of Beck (Mighty No. 9) and Gunvolt (Gunvolt series).

Image result for mighty gunvolt burst

Players: 1
Price: $9.99 (US) / £8.99 (UK) / €9.99 (EU) / ¥980 (Japan)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed) / 3DS
Where to buy: Nintendo eShop

What this game is about

The game flow will be extremely familiar if you have played any of the Inafune Keiji platformers (Rockman/Megaman series, Azure Striker Gunvolt, Mighty No. 9).

You start off with a tutorial/introduction stage, after which you can play any of the available stages in any order you wish, as well as re-play them to find the hidden goodies. After completing the stages, you will proceed to the final boss stage(s).

Hardcore blue bomber fans might ask: “What’s new?”

  • Firstly, hidden items are much easier to find (but not to get) as you can turn on “Dousing” in your weapon customization which makes use of HD Rumble to let you know when you are near a breakable wall.
  • Sliding kicks are no more! Instead you can have multiple air-dashes which is great once you get the hang of it!
  • Weapon customization: Ever wanted to change not just the looks, but also the entire behavior from speed, trajectory, spread, curve (and more!) of your shots? Mighty Gunvolt Burst offers an extremely deep weapon customization system for you to craft and optimize the dream weapon that suits you best!
  • No Game-over: The only penalty for dying is just points, which is capped at a certain amount, so you can keep trying until you complete the stage. You keep the important items when you die, so you don’t need to do the crazy areas over and over again.
  • Burst: As part of the title, this is a new feature in the game for score-fanatics. Simply kill enemies within close range to increase the Burst counter and aim for a high score at the end! S-rank is not enough!

Image result for mighty gunvolt burst

Why should you care

  • For those unaware, the “father” of Rockman/Megaman Inafune Keiji is behind this game, under his company Inti-creates.
  • If Mighty No. 9 left a sour taste, have a good rinse! This game will not disappoint you
  • 2 characters – Beck and Gunvolt to play as, each with their own story
  • The weapon customization is the main selling point for a good reason – it’s so extensive you can come up with crazy combos that suit your play-style
  • Charged-shot, for the first time, is based on your custom weapons – you can select ANY of your custom shots as your charged shot
  • It’s very reasonably priced
  • It comes in 2 languages (I got the Japanese eShop version) – English, Japanese and you can toggle in the Settings menu in the game

What you may not like

  • Retro graphics, but this is purely subjective. Personally I think it looks gorgeous on Switch’s screen
  • Difficulty: For those who have not grown up playing sadistic platformers, this game can be quite difficult. For those who find it easy though, there are options to raise the difficulty, and you can also challenge yourself to get S-rank for every stage.
  • Game length: Again, this is subjective as the price is not very high to begin with given that it offers even more content than the old Rockman games.

Image result for mighty gunvolt burst

Game Tips

  • Extra tip: You may need a Pro Controller for this game as I personally feel that the D-pad works better than the analog stick/4 separate directional buttons on the joycon.
  • Try the different weapons! Each of them actually provide a slightly different set of customization options and some “extreme” options can only be found in specific weapon type(s) (eg Explosions x5 for Missiles).
  • Evade! Evading is the main skill you require for the game. No damage means no consuming of precious fruits you find through the stage which can net you tons of points at the end if you didn’t eat them.


If you loved the oldschool Rockman/Megaman games (especially the X series), or have played Azure Striker Gunvolt, what you will get is that the quality way exceeds the price they are asking for, considering that the older games used to cost a lot more.

If you are not familiar with the Inafune platformer games, you will need to know that this game can be hard but the controls are spot-on. If you do not like platformers, it will probably not change your mind. However if you end up loving this game, do check out the old Rockman games (Rockman 1-8, Rockman X1-X4 are my personal recommendations).

Official Trailer


Official site:

Nintendo Switch Promo Page:


Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Serperior Code!

Serperior Fan-art by Pikishi

Here’s some quick news for those playing Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (ORAS for short). Nintendo has announced the redemption code for a Serperior with the ability Contrary!

Code redemption period: 9th January 2015 – 30th November 2015
Code: POKEMON497

Please take note that since the code was announced on Japanese TV (via Pokémon Get☆TV), it may not work on US/EU games. The code is not a one-time use code, so there is no limit to the number of people who can redeem it!

Source: Serebii

Christmas Shopping over the Weekend? Here’s your solution!

Christmas is round the corner, so are you still having headaches on where to grabs some lovely Christmas Presents over the weekend? Our team at Neko No Gensou have spotted a couple of great places that may be your solutions to getting some neat presents for the festive season.

1. Pokémon Center Plushies

Definitely one of the most lovely things you can grab this year is Pokémon Plushies which are available at your doorstep! Alternatively, you could pop by Zepy Games, Comics Connection, Mega Multimedia, GameScore, and GameMartz to grab them as well.

Not only has the Singapore stores stocked up a whole load of new merchandises, they’re also prepared some lovely limited edition merchandise for the festive season!

Not Christmas related, but this is irresistibly adorable.

Alternatively, you could always bring your friends and family into the world of Pokémon by getting them a limited edition 3DS! Don’t forget to include a copy of Pokémon ORAS. If you get them to start their adventure in ORAS, they are still eligible for most of the special gifts available in the game!

Don’t forget, if you spend above $40 on Rakuten Singapore, you get it shipped right to your doorstep for FREE!

2. Hobby Art Gallery & Hobby Art @ Work


  • Hobby Art Gallery – 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza #01-44 Singapore 189652
  • Hobby Art @ Work12 Arumugam Rd, Lion Building B #06-04 Singapore 409958

Familiar to many model kit collectors and builders, the Hobby Art Gallery and Hobby Art @ Work outlets have their Christmas promotions as well!

Hobby Art Gallery
Hobby Art @ Work

With a wide range of Model Kits, this makes it ideal locations to grab Christmas gifts for Mecha and Model Kit Lovers.

Shelves Packed with Model Kits at Hobby Art Gallery


Wide Selection Available at Hobby Art @ Work

Model kits for the One Piece Boats are up for grabs as well. So you can surprise One Piece Lovers with an awesome present, or two. Or three.

Image from Gundam Planet

If you’re also looking to do some modifications or upgrades to your Model Kits, you’ve a wide range of tools and Kotobukiya add-on parts for selection as well.

Here’s the great news: All the way until 4th January, there’s a 30% off for all Bandai Plastic model kits, 10% off for all paints, tools and accessories (except those with yellow tags. Take note that the discount is only not applicable to Expo limited/exclusives, Premium Bandai (P-Bandai) products and Pre-order items).

On top of that, members will enjoy an additional 5% off.

HGUC Kits are available as well.

Aside from the offer stated above, there’s other great deals waiting for you! One great example is the Nightingale, Up for grabs at only $89.90!

On the Little Battler eXperience (LBX; Danbooru Senki) side of things, the Hyper Function LBX The Emperor is released! This is the also the first series of LBX Model Kits that comes with a separate core skeleton! If you are looking for great deals, the Ikaros Zero & RS model kit (the one with the radio-controlled stand) is only $10!

They also have a New Year Campaign for 2015 as well. Buying participating Model Kits from either of the Hobby Art Outlets will entitle you to take part in this Lucky Draw where you can win awesome prizes, such as a set of PG Model Kits.

In addition, You can join our Hobby Art Gallery giveaway!

3. Otakutachi

Address: 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza #01-32 Singapore 189652

Located at Sunshine Plaza, we have Otakutachi. A store filled with loads of anime merchandise, with merchandise from hit titles such as Love Live!, Date A Live and Kantai Collection.

With the festive season just round the corner, they now have a $5 Shelf and a $10 Shelf. Many of these items are more than 50% off!

If what you are eyeing are not on these shelves, fear not. There’s still a store wide 30% discount!

Tons of figurines are up for grabs right off the shelf at really great prices.

In addition there’s a large selection of merchandise such as phone straps and keyrings!

If you’re looking for something neat for Love Live fans, the really cute Honoka and Nico Nendroids are up for adoption as well. They’re also on discount!

Do not worry if you’re not sure what your friend likes. You have the option of buying Otakutachi Gift Vouchers (no minimum purchase required!) as well! This way you wouldn’t have a headache choosing something for your friends.

So hurry down to Otakutachi as the promotion ends on 24th December at 3pm!

Remember to join our Otakutachi Gift Vouchers Giveaway right here!

4. Summoners

Address: 5 Koek Road, Cuppage Plaza, #02-17, Singapore 228796

Taking a short walk from Somerset MRT, you could also pop by Summoner’s at Cuppage Plaza.

Not only do they carry a wide range of TCGs, you also could grab awesome card sleeves and deck boxes as well, which would make lovely Christmas presents for card collectors and players.

Great news for Buddy Fight and Vanguard players. Buddy Fight booster packs are for grabs at $1 a pack and $30 for a box. Vanguard is going for $1.50 a pack, $30 a box and $15 for Extra Pack boxes. Do bear in mind that these great deals run for the entire December, so grab them while you can!

Vanguard, Image from Wikipedia
Buddy Fight, Image from

While grabbing some gifts, you could also grab a cool drink and chill out at the cozy shop as well.

5. Kinokuniya

List of outlets here.

Piled up with tons of books, this is one great place to grab a present for your bookworm fans.

With four outlets: Takashimaya, JEM, Liang Court and Bugis Junction, it’s quite easy to visit one of their stores!

Kinokuniya is also well known to be stocked up with Japanese books and magazines which are relatively rare in Singapore. So it might be a good corner to pick up something special. Whats more, there’s 20% store wide discount for Kinokuniya members and 10% discount for regular walk-ins until 25th December 2014.

The offer runs all the way until Christmas day, so you can still pick up some books last-minute.

6. Takashimaya Christmas Sales

One of the biggest sales I’ve seen in Singapore, would be at the basement of Takashimaya, located near Orchard MRT.

The entire basement space is being taken up for this huge fair.

Here you have a wide range of toys and gifts up for grabs. Ranging from the awesome Baymax Big Hero 6 all the way to Sanrio apparels.

Not to mention, there’s a huge section allocated to Hello Kitty ❤ There is also a small Display for the Hello Kitty 40th Aniversary.

Aside from the sales, there’s the huge Build Strike Gundam statue as well as a Bat Mobile on display as well.

Last minute Christmas decorations are also up for grabs.

Even if you haven’t thought through on what Christmas gifts to grab for someone, especially kids, this large fair would definitely flood you with ideas on what to grab off the shelves.

The fair will be open up till Christmas Day!

Model Kits Heaven – Hobby Art

For our readers watching Build Fighters, keen on getting your own Gunpla? Or possibly customizing them? Well here’s a pretty neat place where you can grab your needs.

Remember some time back where there was a Neo Zeong Group Build? Yup, that place is your answer!

Hobby Art Gallery and Hobby Art @ Work is a heaven for you to get all you need.

Hobby Art Gallery
Hobby Art @ Work


Hobby Art Gallery – 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza #01-44 Singapore 189652

Hobby Art @ Work – 12 Arumugam Rd, Lion Building B #06-04 Singapore 409958

With both shops easily reachable via MRT, you can drop by after work or during the weekends to actually have a look at what’s up for grabs. You could also check out their Facebook Page.

So here’s a quick preview of the stash of awesome Model Kits you can grab at these places.

Hobby Art Gallery


Hobby Art @ Work

There’s also a great variety of tools that will aid your Model Kit Building as well.

To top that up, there’s also a large spread of third party parts, which are lovely for customization.

And some electronics to light up your kits.

If you’re actually keen to paint or coat your Model Kits, the spread of paint available is also huge.

If you’re keen to grab a couple of Model Kits, you might want to pop by soon as they’re having a 30% off for all Bandai Plastic model kits, 10% off for all paints, tools and accessories except those with yellow tag. Just note that the discount is only not applicable to Expo limited/exclusives, Premium Bandai (P-Bandai) products and Pre-order items. On top of that, members will enjoy an additional 5% off.

If you’re actually keen to learn more or improve your Model Kit building skills, you could also consider dropping by as there’s lots of really friendly people in the shop who are willing to share their experience with you. To be honest, even I myself learned a lot about Model Kit Building from them as well.

Time for some awesome news. We are going to be giving 2 lucky winners $50 Cash vouchers for the Hobby Art Outlets. Simply check out our Giveaway on Facebook to find out how you could get a chance to win these vouchers!




Final Fantasy Explorers Light – Impressions and Tips

Release Date: 18 December 2014
Publisher: Square-Enix
Price: (Japanese) 5,800 yen (package/retail version; excluding tax), 4,500 yen (digital version; excluding tax)


Final Fantasy is a name that is familiar to almost all gamers all over the world. However in Final Fantasy Explorers, Square-Enix took a radical change and decided to explore (pun not intended) the action/hunting/crafting genre and added their own twist to the gaming style popularised by Monster Hunter. There is no doubt there are influences and inspirations taken from the latter, but Square-Enix has ensured the game is different and offers more than its inspiration, creating a game fit for Final Fantasy fans. I delved into the demo since its first day of release, and enjoyed every moment of it.

The game will be released tomorrow (18 Dec) as of writing, so let’s round up what the demo provided and how it convinced me to buy the game!

What does the demo contain?

Continue reading

Insights On Local Pop-Culture Conventions – Interview with Neo Tokyo Project

Jason a.k.a. Crimson. Promotional Photo for Razer. Photo taken by The Art of Mezame

Pop-culture events have been popping up around Singapore for a good number of years. There is a rise in the quantity and quality of events these years, as the community gets more and more active. With the more exciting changes we see year to year, we decided to interview one of the earlier movers of pop-culture activities in Singapore, Jason Koh from Neo Tokyo Project to let us have a better understanding of the history and development of the local pop-culture community!

QN: Hi, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Jason: I’m Jason better known as Crimson in the cosplay community, and I head Neo Tokyo Project, an integrated pop-culture marketing agency in Singapore.

QN: Could you share with us a little more about pop-culture?

Jason: Pop-culture simply means any form of consumed mass media that is currently in the public’s popular consciousness. In Singapore, this includes anime, comic books, games and manga.

One of the greatest expressions of pop-culture fandom is cosplay, which is something we also indulge in because we make costumes ourselves.

Crimson’s Heathcliff (Sword Art Online) Cosplay. Photo taken by Darkon Lore

QN: How did you get started in pop-culture?

Jason: Well, that’s going to be a long story.

NnG: Maybe the origins of it?

Jason: I loved playing computer games as a kid. I recall the first game I played on the PC was Ultima 1. It’s a really old RPG with stick-figure graphics and stuff.

Ultima 1 from Wikipedia, StrongStyleFiction

NnG: But it was nice at that time.

Jason: Yeah! So basically I started out with gaming. Then along the way I picked up geeky stuff like playing Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering. I spent a good number of years hanging out at Comics Mart in Serene Centre, skipping school (laughs) and playing card games. I played lots of games, collected lots of comic books. Basically, all my hobbies have been some form of expression of my love for popular culture, an expression of fandom. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time. I studied Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Poly, and Communications at Wee Kim Wee School at NTU.

This was followed by a good number of years working in the media as a freelance journalist, photographer and multimedia manager, and it’s those skills that have brought me to where I am right now. I picked up blogging, and have since turned that blog into a platform with which I can inspire like-minded people – people who love games, love anime, love comic books, love pop-culture – to work together to develop their skills and to apply those skills to service the companies that produce their favorite products.

QN: Since you mentioned Dungeons and Dragons which were considered “geeky” at that point of time, do you think they could be considered “pop-culture”?

Jason: I think that the definition of pop-culture changes with every paradigm. So what might be popular at a certain point of time might not be as popular later on. Geeky activities really came to the fore with the rise of Internet startups and successful technopreneurs. They called it the bubble. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, it wasn’t “hip” or “happening” to be a geek at all. But because of the rise of the Internet, with Internet cultures and geekiness gaining traction, more and more successful people were coming out and actually saying they had geeky hobbies. Whatever used to be classified as outlandish and non-mainstream suddenly become the new mainstream. Case in point, it’s cool to watch Marvel movies these days, and if you don’t know who Thor is, who Loki is, who Captain America is – then you probably have been living under a rock!

Thor and Loki by MushStone@DA 

Singaporeans are kiasu (afraid of losing/losing out). They want to be in the in-crowd with their peers. It’s actually a good thing that pop-culture is now so accessible and visible, because it also means that there are greater opportunities for us and for the companies we service to engage with their audiences.

QN: What makes the pop-culture scene so unique and interesting?

Jason: I have been involved in quite a few communities. Before I was involved in cosplay, I was a part of card gaming, comic book collecting and toy collecting forums. There was also an IRC channel called #SGMA that was pretty active back in the day for local enthusiasts, and that was many, many years ago. The thing is, pop-culture’s really come a long way. Right now, one of the greatest and most visible expressions that we see is when people dress up as their favourite characters – in cosplay basically. It’s become an increasingly prevalent activity, with many events springing up out of the blue easily without a word every other month.

As for us, we run International Cosplay Day Singapore as a community event. This event takes place at *SCAPE each year with an emphasis on the positive effects of pop-culture and of cosplay especially. We want to encourage greater solidarity and friendship among local and international cosplayers. At the same time, we run Doujin Market, which we abbreviated into Doujima. It’s an opportunity for young artistic talents in Singapore to explore new ways of getting their art out to the public, to find ways to popularise their work and to showcase themselves. God knows we need more support for local communities.

QN: Is there anything developing in the local community that is especially unique to Singapore?

Jason: Uniquely Singaporean? Other than the kiasu-ness, I think it’s really the fact that Singaporeans are quite innovative. I know for a fact that one of the doujin groups in Singapore that we’ve worked with – their artwork adorns the E.P.I.C. Card for our membership programme. They’ve published a few novellas with original content all on their own. They started doing original content before they worked on doujin products like fanart.

EPICCard  E.P.I.C. Card Illustration from About E.P.I.C. Card

I think another thing that I’ve discovered is that quite a good number of local cosplayers are very talented. People are getting increasingly international and at the same time I think there’s a rise in crafting culture – that’s something quite unheard because most young cosplayers buy their costumes online. I think it’s good that there are more and more people interested in crafting, and I would like to think that we had some small influence in that.

QN: How did you come about starting Neo Tokyo Project (NTP)?

Jason: It’s a really strange story. Basically what happened was that some time in 2010, I came back from a long hiatus in cosplay and decided to build a World of Warcraft costume. So one day, I decided to enter a cosplay competition on a whim, and got selected for an Animax tourism event which took place in Hong Kong.

On the same trip I met Kaika from Cosplay Chronicles – she’s a great blogger, really well respected – and several other bloggers and cosplayers from around the region. I remember chatting with Kaika, and she suggested that I should put my media training to good use and maybe blog about things, so I did.

I ran the blog for a couple of years, and I decided I really liked what I was doing – making costumes, working with other like-minded cosplayers and empowering young people to develop good habits through cosplay and other pop-culture hobbies. We also realized that a good number of companies we love, that produced the games and products we loved – they enjoyed our work and follow us on social media. We started collaborating with them and that’s how we got to where we are right now.

QN: Having been part of the scene and community for so long, what made you decide to organize events?

Jason: The opportunity came when I was involved in the first iteration of Singapore Cosplay Chess. This took place in 2011, and we essentially bankrolled and produced Singapore’s first stage show for cosplayers by cosplayers. After the event was over I had to think about whether we were going to do the show again in the following year. To do so, I had to be influential enough to pull all the sponsors together, and at the same time, provide the performers, who were all volunteers doing it out of passion, with a stage.

 Villager (Dempster) & Travis Touchdown (Alvis Lim) battling on stage during Cosplay Chess

I decided to do something about it and said no matter what, we are going to run an event next year. It needed to be a new event to differentiate ourselves from other cosplay events in Singapore. So I sought the advice of my overseas cosplay friends and connected with communities around the world, and decided to make the International Cosplay Day movement in Singapore something really, really big. We actually made it happen, and we have been going strong ever since.

 Prize giving ceremony at ICDS 2014

QN: How different has it been since you started organizing events as compared to being part of the community?

Jason: I have a lot less time to wear costumes and to attend events now. When I’m at an event, I’m either the producer, or an event partner and it’s all work. Also, I’m usually on the look out for good practices that we can learn from and improve ourselves. Like I said, we want to be a company that is progressive. We don’t want to be a company that does the same things over and over again. I wish I had more time to make costumes as I did in the past, but I think it’s a necessary evil, all that paperwork. I can’t deny the fact that being an event organiser means that I have more influence, and that influence allows me to push for greater opportunities that will benefit the community in the long run.

QN: Was there any problems or new challenges you face organizing ICDS?

Jason: I don’t think we expected ICDS to grow the way it did. The first year when we ran it at Ngee Ann Poly, we were hoping to have 1,000 visitors and we actually broke that amount. We were the first organisers in Singapore to bring in Yaya Han all the way from America. In the second year, we got Alodia and held our event at *SCAPE and our visitor numbers more than doubled. This year we brought in the “Queen of Armoured Cosplay” from Germany, Kamui, and Dat-Baka from Australia and we saw more than 5,000 visitors.

I think the biggest challenge now is how we can keep leveling up our game and topping that.

QN: Just last month, NTP was also involved with Game Start. So how exactly were you involved?

Jason: Game Start is Singapore’s new premier gaming convention, and the first of its kind. It saw 12,000 visitors, and we were their official cosplay partner. We curated an interactive scavenger hunt and cosplay content on stage, including guests such as Yasemin Arslan and Yuegene Fay. Game Start also taught us that there were many new ways we could look at and explore cosplay involvement at events that were aimed at non-cosplay audiences.

Of course, if any of your readers have any feedback or think we can do better, or have great event ideas they want us to execute, please let us know.

Check out our coverage @ Game Start 2014! (opens in new window)

QN: As compared to ICDS, how different was it, helping to run Game Start?

Jason: Definitely different. ICDS was more for the anime, comic books and gaming community, with an emphasis on cosplay. By comparison, Game Start was a gaming event and targeted at a wholly different audience. We are all gamers at NTP, and we enjoyed the challenge of introducing content we were familiar with and supporting the efforts of the Game Start team. It was a good learning experience for us, and helped us improve our processes as well.

QN: One thing I noticed about the Game Start Cosplay competition. There wasn’t a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Placing. Instead people were awarded titles such as best Craftmanship etc. What made you decide to use this method of judging instead of the conventional ranking?

Jason: Actually, I’ve been planning to implement something like this for awhile now. Before I ran events, I was pretty active in the cosplay competition circuit. I think a lot of people hate being ranked – the country’s already so focused on numbers and being number one. It breeds unhealthy competition.

We feel that cosplayers put in a lot of effort into creating their own costumes, into their make-up, into understanding the nuances of their characters. Each of them deserves a chance to shine, and in my eyes as long as they’re willing to brave the stage, they’ve already all won a prize. There should be no reason for them to feel put upon when they are compared to each other.

So rather than focusing who trumps another, or making it a popularity contest based on votes, we focused on the skills each individual cosplayer brings to the table.

If they’ve built the costume from scratch all on their own, they have done the sanding, the priming, the layering, the detailing, then they’re eligible for the Craftsmanship award. If they put up a good show on stage, if it’s entertaining, it’s engaging, and it’s very in-character, then they could win the Performance prize. There’s also a Judge’s Choice, which is an award for participants who perform consistently well in every category.

While they may not be the most skilled in craftsmanship, performance, or in their stage sets and gimmicks, this prize rewards those who are are good all-rounders. We also believe in encouraging new talent, so we always have a Newcomer prize for those who have yet to place in any stage competition.

CIMG2319Check out our cosplay competition feature @ Game Start 2014! (opens in new window)

It’s also very important for us that judges are transparent and that all participants are assessed fairly solely on merit. NTP staff is not allowed to sit on the judging panel or participate in any cosplay competition we run, because we believe that there should be a line drawn between the company organising the competition and the contestants. Our judges are almost always our international guests, because we believe that they are most qualified, and at the same time most neutral and unbiased in any given competition.

Let’s face it, whenever a cosplayer doesn’t get a prize, they’ll rant about it, they will complain about it, they will say “this competition must have been rigged”. We don’t want that to happen and one of the ways we can nip that in the bud is to ensure that we don’t give anyone a reason to doubt in the first place.

QN: Having been part of so many events over the years, is there an event a particular event you remembered or enjoyed the most?

Jason: The one event I enjoyed going to the most was Anime Expo in America, and that left me a lasting impression.

NnG: When was it?

Jason: More than 10 years ago. I was on an exchange trip and I managed to explore Anime Expo and it was great! It was really inspiring.

Anime Expo 2006 from Wikipedia

QN: Do you have any memorable experience as an organiser that you could share with us?

Jason: It might be a little trivial of me to say that cosplay events in Singapore are nowhere near international standards yet, but that’s the truth. Organizers need to know how to not sweat the small stuff and to find ways to ensure that you’re creating great environments for communities to thrive rather than just assuming cosplay will go well with everything and the kitchen sink. America is a great place to learn good convention practices. I’ve had very good recollections of what they’ve done well, and I think I’ll be integrating some of those elements, especially panels and seminars, into my events.

Comiket 62 from Wikipedia

QN: Is there anything you would like to see change or improve in the pop-culture scene in the years to come?

Jason: I think communities need to continue showing their love and their passion for the the games they play, and the products they enjoy. They also need to lay off the self-entitlement and stop being so quick to judge when they don’t get what they want.

I recall a visitor at Game Start who complained that the lights in the hall were really dim and that he couldn’t take picture of cosplayers. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have enjoyed PAX or Tokyo Game Show either, because it’d be just as dimly lit. Singaporeans can be incredibly myopic, and don’t always realize that companies will be more comfortable reaching out to you and giving you the perks that you deserve if you’re gracious and understanding rather than just badly behaved and demanding. That’s why an international perspective is important.

QN: What could we expect from NTP in the near future?

Jason: We’ll definitely be doing Spring Doujima again in April. We are going for more original content in April, and we just might be releasing a card game during Spring Doujima. At the very least, we should be going into a Beta/Play-test to gauge how fun it is. At NTP we want to do things that are fun. One of our core beliefs is that if it’s not fun, we don’t do it.

Doujima 2014 from Official Doujima Facebook Page

NnG: Is it a physical card game?

Jason: It is a physical card game.

NnG: Can we have a sneak preview before it’s released to the public? HEHEHEHE.

Jason: (laughs) You know the characters on the E.P.I.C Card? Those characters were created with a card game in mind. They’ll be featured in the card game we intend to produce, but it’s all in the air right now and we can’t reveal too much. But we are hoping to do a play-test during Spring Doujima if it works out. If it doesn’t, you know how it is. Deadlines get pushed back, there are delays in the game creation process, but that’s game creation for you.

At the same time we will be working with more game companies next year and I will be finishing my book on the history of cosplay in Singapore. I’ve already done some interviews with several movers and shakers in the cosplay community and in the local pop-culture scene, including the lawyer who fought in the ‘cosplay’ trademark case from a few years back. We’re hoping to launch the book sometime in April or May.

NnG: Next year? (2015)

Jason: Yeap! Next year. Of course ICDS 2015 with the theme “Fate and Freedom”. I guess you are the first media to hear about it and we will be doing auditions for Cosplay Chess pretty soon. 

QN: Anything else you would like to add on or want to tell our readers?

Jason: The biggest thing about being a pop-culture fan or being a cosplayer is really about wearing your passion on your sleeve. It’s really about showing your love and your enthusiasm for your hobbies and not giving up. But at the same time, ask yourself: “Does this hobby make you a better person?”, or “Does this hobby give you greater opportunities to improve yourself?”, and “At the end of the day, was the hobby fun?” So the thing is, most importantly…

NnG: Have fun!

Jason: Yes. Have fun. That’s a given. But also internalize the positive lessons from your hobby, and transform yourself into a responsible, successful, well-adjusted individual. That way, you can become the best you can be.